muck + worm
muckworm (plural muckworms)
- A larva living in mud or manure.
- Someone who gathers wealth through overwork of employees and sordid means; a miser.
1748, James Thomson, “Canto I”, in The Castle of Indolence:
Here you a muckworm of the town might see, / At his dull desk, amid his legers stall'd, / Eat up with carking care and penurie; / Most like to carcase parch'd on gallows-tree.
1840, Douglas William Jerrold, “The Money-Lender”, in The Writings of Douglas Jerrold, published 1853, page 279:
We have painted one Money-Lender — not the mere sordid muckworm of a century ago, but the man-eater of the present day.
1993, Marlene Suson, The Lily and the Hawk, page 158:
Perhaps it is far too expensive for a notorious muckworm like you! I, however, am more generous.